I was chatting (online, obvs) with my friends from pregnancy yoga today (we have named ourselves the Yogabies and we don’t care how lame you think it is!). We are a mix of first time mums, mums with newborns and toddlers, and mums with newborns and children old enough to need homeschooling. And we are all frazzled. We all have different challenges during this drama that is unfolding. Some of us are getting used to partners working from home (and being around all the time). Some of us were just getting used to this whole maternity leave thing, trying to find routine, and now all the baby groups we were using as support have closed and we are alone, with just Whatsapp for company. Some of us have partners who need to work during the crisis and so have extra responsibilities on top of what we were expecting. Some of us are endeavouring to be teachers as well as dealing with newborns who have no routines and can’t understand why you need to finish the times table questions before you pick them up from the changing mat.
Nothing is as it should have been (a sentiment I am most familiar with).
To be honest, I do feel slightly cheated out of my maternity leave. These first few months were meant to be spent bonding with Erica, wandering around town with her in the buggy or sling, popping into coffee shops to feed her when she’s inconsolable, ranting with fellow mums about why she won’t sleep, or how everything has changed since the last time I had a baby, letting her fall asleep on me in the afternoon and smelling the top of her head. I had found it difficult enough to organise a baby around school runs and sports matches and homework and teatime even before we all went into a 3 week lockdown and I had to teach an 8 year old all about magnets. (N.B. I know nothing about magnets. When I was getting ready for my GCSE’s I had to go and stay with my Grandad for 2 weeks so he could cram enough Physics into me to help me pass the exam! Why could Ethan not be studying Shakespeare, or The Great Gatsby, or even Socialism?!)
The last week I have felt constantly torn between my two children, as well as the work that needs to be done to keep the house running. And by that I don’t even mean cleaning, just ensuring we have clothes to wear and food to eat! I spend the day feeling like I am not doing enough of anything, for anyone. And I am getting increasingly annoyed at the social media content which encourages people to look on the bright side of the lockdown by giving them ideas of things they can do with all their spare time….. Oh, to have spare time! The pile of books I was hoping to at least make a small dent in is gathering dust. This is the first time I have written anything longer than a Facebook status in about 2 weeks, and Ethan has been surviving almost completely on sausage rolls and cherry tomatoes.
I know that it’s normal to feel like you are failing as a parent (especially as a mother). I know that many people are finding this situation harder than I am, for various reasons. I know that I am very lucky that my family and I are well, and that Nick can keep working under the circumstances (oh the joys of running your own business). I’m quite pleased that we decided to use reusable nappies and wipes as they’re almost impossible to get hold of at the moment. But I am a bit sad, if I’m honest, that real life has crashed the newborn stage.
Erica is getting very good at watching me do things (like cook dinner, load the dishwasher, teach fractions, put out the washing). I am getting better at scheduling a school plan for the day and then completely rearranging it around her naps and mood. Ethan is getting better at adjusting his routine, something which he has always found very difficult. He likes the structure of school (although he will tell you the only things he likes about school are ICT, PE, lunch and break!), and he loves his friends. We are using the House Party app quite a lot so he can talk to them, and the teachers have been wonderful in sending us work home and keeping us all connected. But such a big change in routine means heightened anxiety and emotions, and so we have seen more tears than usual. My patience levels (never fabulous, to be honest) are at a very low ebb.
I miss my friends, and I don’t even have time to chat to them properly using all the fabulous technology that makes this global predicament bearable. I am very cross that the spa days and brewery visits we had planned are on hold…especially as I am currently running out of wine! And the self-indulgent tone of this blog post is also annoying me….
All in all, I am unimpressed with Covid-19, and would very much lie to fast forward to September… If that’s alright with everyone else!